The Mighty Logo

How I Struggled With My Identity After My Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD), categorized by emotional instability, impulsive behaviour, and cognitive distortions.

The moment I was given that diagnosis my life changed forever, not for the better but for the earth-shattering worse. The stigma towards mental health is spoken about all too much but for all the good work people do, it doesn’t change. Everybody I cared about in my life left. I ended up being left with one question: “Who am I?”

I ask myself this question on a daily basis, often in the dark of my bedroom, fighting against the tide of my emotions.

I have realized over time that this is the most important question in the world for me. Over the years, I’ve been on numerous prescription medications, seen numerous psychologists, taken any drug I could get my hands on and spent hours doing mindfulness. All of these techniques working to varying degrees. They might have stopped the pain for an hour, made me more lucid for a week or regulated my mood during the day. The result was that I became a ghost wearing a person suit, waiting for the slow release of death. I had become depressed, obsessive and suicidal. I needed something to hold onto, some motivation, someone who will be there when the lights turn out. The person was me.

I asked myself the question, “who am I,” for the longest time and I didn’t have the answer. People told me I was a good person but I couldn’t believe them. Work colleagues told me I was successful but again I couldn’t believe it. For months, as much as I asked the question, I didn’t have an answer. I was broken — without purpose, without value and without identity. My formative years had been spent forming myself around the people who were seen as successful and happy, but at this point, it seemed like I was at the end of the tunnel, at the end of my time in this world.

After many days asking this question I finally came to an answer. I knew who I was; I was Jack Scott.

This is my guiding light; this is what I hold onto on my bad days and it’s my purpose on my good days. Experiences mean anything can happen on any given day, but at the end of that day — be it good or bad — when I get into bed I now know who I am. I see that as a victory and evidence to me that the following day will be worth it.

When life gives you the worst, when you’re in pain, when you’re down, ask yourself the question “who am I?” Let that be your victory for the day. It will be a victory every day and can be a platform for something better. Find yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help in finding yourself.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Goodshoot

Originally published: June 21, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home